Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Vermont Studio Center (The Second Half)

Now that all the November residents have had some time to celebrate Thanksgiving (hope it went well for everyone...) and readjust to being back at home, I'd like to reflect on the second half and completion of the residency.

For me the second half of the residency began after having some time away from the Studio Center while my husband came to visit. I can back refreshed and ready to work. I returned to campus that Sunday just in time for my meeting with Ernesto Pujol. It was a nice meeting, but one of the things that resonates with me now is when he told me ... you are skilled enough, you have the intellect, and you are social enough, now do it.... Another thing we had spoken about was that the political is social practice. I have been walking along a safe edge for quite some time when it comes to this. Something has been holding me back. "Sometimes we need to listen to how this feels and sometimes we need to get over it and just do it, only you will know..." I getting closer to taking the leap.

The morning after the election, it was a sad one... devastating... The idea of possibly embracing the political in my work, for good reason, is what got me out of be that morning. I have written about the Collective Scream in a blog post before this and would encourage you to read that post if you want more information about the Scream project that happened on November 9th. Here is a photo of the piece in the gallery where it was made.

No one thought this was going to happen
No one thought this was going to happen
some people say he is not so bad
No one thought
No one thought this was going to happen
Something will be done

No one thought this was going to happen
No one thought this was going to happen
some people say he is not so bad
No one thought
No one thought this was going to happen
Something will be done

Friday I needed to do my laundry and since embedding the stories told while creating fabric has been an interest of mine, I decided to bring my loom to the laundry mat with me...

The last couple times I had been at the laundry mat we had encountered people with interesting stories to share. For example, the man we will refer to as Rusty Johnson recited poetry for us from memory...it have have been a poem about a friend of his from prison killing his wife and not remembering any of it, but it was pretty good. He also wanted to sing to us, "What the world need now is love sweet love..." Another time, I met a woman who told me all about her landlord and how she was not taking care of the things she should. This went on for quite some time, and I listened and encouraged her to find another apartment.

However, now that I had the loom in the laundry mat, the stories were not so dramatic... I met a mom and her daughter who were very nice and the daughter chose all the pink flannel piece she could find to add into the fabric I was making. There were some college students there, who just looked at me funny and went off to the other side of the room. The owner was there and she told me about how her family used to make rag rugs. I wove that day for the duration of a wash and dry cycle using flannel strips that I got from my friends down the road at the Vermont Flannel Company.

Being on the same laundry cycle, the mother and daughter returned to the laundry mat. The little girl was much less shy this time and enjoyed running her hands up and down the newly woven textured cloth.


Here's the finished piece from the experience described above...

The next day my friend Dayna came to visit. I was happy to share the work I had been doing with someone who has known my work for a longer duration of time. I was also pleased when Dayna participated in the Orange Hat Project.


The next meeting I had was with the still life painter, Susan Walp. She sensed that I was less engaged in some of the more painterly work that I had started and more connected to my work with social practice and the blanket inspired piece that I had been working on. I told her how that piece was very important to me right now as I am going through this transitional time. She said that it felt celebratory, it feels like music and it has movement and rhythm. This was fitting and interesting especially how some of the inspiration for this work came out of seeing Stanley Whitney's work at the Harlem Museum last year around this time...

 A painting by Stanley Whitney. I just love these!

We spoke about possible ways of attaching the 16 pieces that I had created together and that maybe leaving them unattached would be best...

a view of my studio

My next meeting was with Tom Butter (http://tombutter.com/). By then I had completed all the squares and was trying out options for attaching them. I had also completed the Orange Hat Project (which I also wrote a blog prior to this one about if you want more information about the project). I had told him that when I took teaching out of the mix, then that would  open up some space for social practice. He agreed and said that it was working.

The Orange Hat Project

 I shared the pieces that I was painting at home in comparison to the work I have been doing here. He said said that the paintings from home looked muddled and unsure. I fully agree with him! He looked at the work I have been doing here over the last month and said, "Your work is evidence that this place works." I could not agree more.

After playing around with different ways of possibly attaching these pieces, I decided to leave them unattached. It seems to work so much better and I have given the piece the title Dispersion.

That final morning,  I had one last stop to make on my way out of VT.... With my car bursting at the seams, expertly packed with stuff, I needed to stop at the Vermont Flannel Company and share with my new friends, Mallory and Robert, some of the work their fabrics inspired me to make, especially the scarf that I had made the afternoon before...

 Mallory really liked the piece and brought me upstairs to meet the sewers. It was cool to be up there and able to see how the clothing and blankets downstairs in the store are made. The ladies also responded positively to may woven fabric. Then they showed me all the tiny little scraps they were going to throw away and instead, they gave them to me! Perfect. I had been cutting the pieces down anyway. Now it was just a matter of fitting the bags in the car! Mallory had been so helpful and liked the scarf so much, that I gave it to her, a perfect exchange...

There were two pieces that needed to stay in VT... and two from the same warp... the scarf with Mallory and the ridiculously colorful weaving I had made with the students at Johnson Elementary School. Something tells me that I will be back and that this is just the beginning of what can be done collaboratively between these two places....

The Vermont Flannel Company

Robert and Mallory

Made by the students at Johnson Elementary School on November 17th, 2016.

I drove home feeling filled up with all the good stuff, my car was packed, but so was I...

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Orange Hat Project

A detail of the community weaving

Inspired by the tour I took when I first arrived here almost a month ago, we were warned that it was hunting season and that we should wear bright orange while walking through the woods for our own safety.... the Orange Hat Project began....and now it is complete.

Thank you to all the residents here at the Vermont Studio Center that took the time to participate in this exchange. I love how the project have evolved from orange hats to scarfs, mittens, shirts, pants, etc... 33 people participated in this project and created the community weaving pictured below.

Thank you. This project would not have been a success without all of you... Stay safe everyone!

1. Cathy

2. Daphne
3. Anne
4. Sebastian
5. Virgina
6. Melissa
7. Dara
8. Lesley

9. Sabrina
10. Fran
11. Claudette
12. Madelyne
13. Heather
14. Laura
15. Arnie
16. Kristyn
17. George
18. Keke
19. Kara
20. Andrey
21. Krista
22. Dayna
23. Heather
24. Mike
25. Marie
26. Beth
27. Paola
28. Beijing Charlie
29. Megan
30. Soren
31. Katherine
32. Ken
33. Christi